Microsoft and Microsoft partners are delivering innovation to meet the increasing demands for sophistication and automation of the grid. With regulation, competition, and the new energy consumers, the need to enable bidirectional power flows and bidirectional information flows about consumption and pricing between utilities and consumers will contribute to the advancements of today’s grid. As utilities embrace and implement these new advancements, tomorrow's transmission and distribution systems will ultimately become self-healing. Collecting terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and now even zettabytes of data, as millions of new grid monitoring devices combined with end users' smart meters and smart devices send data to control systems, utilities will face a challenge and an opportunity around the massive amounts of data, including how to turn this data into information – securely. Microsoft is working with our partners to address the data opportunity for utilities by providing industry leadership around Big Data. Entirely new business models may develop in response to consumers' ability to produce and add electricity to the grid through distributed generation sources or the electric storage of their plug-in vehicles. These will be the new characteristics of a smart energy ecosystem. Characteristics that can be identified in data collected by a utility to provide information around defining the right program for the right consumer at the right time. The evolution of the smart energy ecosystem depends on innovation, performance, and transformation of a utility and Microsoft and our partners are prepared to enable this innovation.